6 Drafts Down

The idea for my fantasy adventure epic began ten years ago. Back in 2013 I finally decided to bring the idea to life in my screenwriting classes. In the summer of 2014 I began writing it as a book with friends and family contributing their stunning artwork and creative input. In 2015 I completed a third draft and thought that would be the end of it.

In the opening months of 2017 I completed a sixth draft of my fantasy/adventure epic, Never Heroes. It runs 18 chapters, 431 pages, 161,124 words, and gives me the feeling that we’re at long last almost finished.

Zhyx the Red Dragon meets River

In this illustration, Zhyx the red dragon meets his longtime companion, River the Flatlander, for the first time in the fantasy adventure novel, Never Heroes.

The story of Zhyx the Great Red Wyrm, more simply known as ‘Red’ and how he is shoehorned into becoming a great hero, has been a passion of mine that has spanned almost a decade. I thought completion was near last year before we hired an editor, who actually charged a pretty reasonable price for her services. Given my current economic situation, I couldn’t resist.

I received much constructive criticism during that time, and of course because of that I realized the story was far from finished. There were many flaws in the narrative I cooked up. Inconsistencies that could not be excused no matter how hard I tried. It was time to do another draft. I began the process back in November of last year.

Heavy the Dragon and River

The giant dragon Heavy drools at the prospect of eating River, one of the protagonists in the upcoming fantasy novel, Never Heroes.

It was the biggest overhaul the novel went through since I made the transition from first draft to second. Originally the story followed the prototypical chosen one narrative, with the chosen hero of course being the dragon. That idea was immediatly nixed. A relatively minor villain was another dragon known as Heavy. He quickly rose the ranks to become one of the antagonists with the most exposure.

But the changes weren’t enough. My climax was stale and tedious, characters were introduced and discarded when they should have been expanded on, other characters were expanded on when they didn’t warrant that much focus. These were just the beginnings of some of me and my editor’s many issues with that last manuscript, the 20 chapter, 382 page, 138,640 word draft five. As of now, most of the big issues have been dealt with, to varying degrees of success.

Zhyx The Giant Red Dragon

The final illustration for the novel, Never Heroes. This images shows the colossal red dragon, Zhyx, towering over the adventurer Major Celice Arietta who has come to steal his favorite piece of treasure.

So what awaits Never Heroes now? As much as I would like, work isn’t done just yet. There is still a final polish to go through in order to fix things up so it will be presentable and better paced, but after that I shall finally, both literally and figuratively, close the book on my first novel.

I’ll be letting the manuscript rest in the meantime before this final push to the two most liberating words any writer can ever type. The End.

 

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